Mavericks vs. Nuggets preview: Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki forming dynamic duo

The Mavericks starting five: Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion, Sam Dalembert, Monta Ellis, and Dirk. - Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks come to down for the rare home and away back-to-back games that are actually separated by a day. The Mavs haven't been as good on the road as they have been at home, but they bring a unique challenge in two big time scoring threats.

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Game 12: 2013-14 NBA Season
Dallas Mavericks (1981 - 2001)
@

Denver Nuggets (2006 - Pres)

9-4 (2-4 away)
Series 0-0
5-6 (4-2 home)
November 23st, 2013
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 p.m. MT
Altitude / 950 AM / 93.7 FM
Jose Calderon PG Ty Lawson
Monta Ellis SG Randy Foye
Shawn Marion SF Wilson Chandler
Dirk Nowitzki PF Kenneth Faried
Sam Dalembert C J.J. Hickson
Notes
Mavs Moneyball - preview is up! Blogs You're here!
Devin Harris, Brandan Wright are both out Injuries Danilo Gallinari (ACL), JaVale McGee (leg fracture) are both out
The Mavs are 30-46 all-time in Denver Stat Nuggets are 72-79 vs Mavs all-time

Back on Nov. 20th the Mavericks played one of the most entertaining games of the season against the Houston Rockets on ESPN. It looked like Dwight Howard and James Harden were going to cruise to victory as they were up 101-87 entering the fourth quarter, and then Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki got cooking.

The two combined to score 22 of the team's 36 points in the fourth quarter (Dirk with 14 and Monta with 8 points), held the Rockets to just 19 points (Harden, Howard combined for 12 of those 19), and won the game with some last minute heroics and great shooting (Shawn Marion with a killer corner three) 123-120.

These Mavericks are even more explosive if you take into account that Sam Dalembert once looked like Hakeem Olajuwon against the Nuggets back on Feb. 5th, 2013 when he put up 35 points on 17-21 shooting with the Milwaukee Bucks. His Bucks lost that game (112-104), but boy-oh-boy was Dalembert rocking that night. Here, check out his game highlights as you fold into the fetal position:


It's always a scary thought that a non-scorer like Sammy could get hot against your team. With these Mavericks, you have to worry about multiple guys ... even old man Carter (aka Vince Carter, 36 years-old) can shake off father time every once in a while.

Dallas was in Utah last night and defeated the Jazz 103-93, thanks to Ellis' 26 points, Dirk's 18, and Sammy's 18. Off the bench the Mavs feature one of my favorite guys heading into the 2013 draft in Shane Larkin. He's coming off a broken wrist that prevented him from playing in the Las Vegas Summer League and for the beginning of the regular season.

Larkin (son of former Reds great Barry Larkin) made his season debut on Nov. 18th against the Philadelphia 76ers and has appeared in the previous three games for Dallas, including 15 minutes last night in Utah. He's a little bit like Ty Lawson. An explosive, undersized point guard that is capable at getting to the rim and can stretch the floor (he was 2-3 from deep against the Rockets in that awesome ESPN game). It will be fun to see him play and he will be a handful for Nate Robinson and Andre Miller. Denver's guards must make him work on the defensive end if they have any hope of trying to slow him down on the other end.

Expect this to be a fast-paced game and the Nuggets could and should take advantage of Dallas road weary legs - can Dirk get up-and-down for four quarters after playing 32 minutes last night? Can Dalembert? Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson must be active in the pick-and-rolls and on the glass. Brian Shaw is very concerned with the defensive rebounding and the Nuggets have been doing a little too much leaking out on shot attempts. Staying in and rebounding and then running will be key. You can run on Dallas and they like the fast-paced games.

Randy Foye will have a hard time dealing with Ellis and Monta will look to punish the Nuggets wherever they give him room. The book on Monta is to make him shoot the ball, not drive. One can't be sure if the free agent rumors about Denver being interested in Ellis were true, but this match up between him and Foye will be an interesting one for fans.

Game prediction: I like the Nuggets to win this one, but expect it to be close ... 101-98.

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